A rural mine worker by profession and the eldest of nine siblings, Morgan Tsvangirai will be remembered as the face and voice of the democratic movement in Zimbabwe and former president Robert Mugabe’s fiercest political opponent in the past two decades. He died at the age of 65 at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Until his death, Tsvangirai led the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was launched in 1999 and has dominated Zimbabwe’s opposition political landscape since. His oratory skills and ability to connect with workers’ grievances saw him rise in the late 1990s to become secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which provided an anchor for the MDC. His firebrand traits were a hallmark of his relationship with Mugabe. A hands-on leader, Tsvangirai was at the forefront of strikes and mass stayaways that he organised against Mugabe’s government in 1997 to protest over tax increases and the deterioration of workers’ liv...

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